Game-Capable Laptop for Girlfriend
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April 13, 2011, 09:47 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Taichung / Toronto
My System Specs
I have the Lenovo Y560 you are looking at. (well with the 460m, not 480m processor, but the difference is marginal) I made two key upgrades though before I even turned the thing on. I bumped the RAM up to 8Gb, and swapped the hard drive for a Momentus XT Hybrid drive, and then installed a bloat ware free copy of win7. (The stock install is full of shit!) I was too cheap to shell out on an SSD, so the hybrid drive was a great alternative (so far it has been perfect, and made a huge difference).
This was my first laptop in at least 10 years, and so far I'm satisfied with it. I don't plan on keeping it much longer, as I'd like a bit more gaming power next time around. I originally picked it up as I have spent the last year working in Asia, and travelling back and forth from Toronto.
Processor wise it is very capable. the i5 has handled everything I've thrown at it without issue. Runs photo shop extensively, all day every day, and doesn't skip a bit with the usual garb of other stuff running in the background.
Video Card. Hmm ... what to say. The switchable graphics are annoying. Mostly due to the fact that the drivers for it are ancient. You can't use standard ATI card drivers for whatever reason, so you are stuck with the archaic upgrade schedule that Lenovo has ... and it's non existent. These days I haven't had much time to game, and the lack of a dedicated desktop really takes away from the fun, but I still fire up TF2 and BFBC2 on occasion. It handles both games fine. TF2 at full settings and BFBC2 dialled down a bit, especially in larger multi player maps. Also note there is a huge heat difference with the card on ... you could cook things out the side. :)
Speakers. By far this thing has the best sounding laptop speakers I have ever heard. Definitely didn't expect it from this unit. The only downside is that they interfere with the microphone at the top of the screen. So if you are going to be calling folks on Skype or whatever, you will need an external mic.
Now to the really BAD stuff. :)
This things biggest let down is the screen. It can be blurry around the edges of windows with the graphics card on (Lenovo claimed they would fix it with a bios update, but it has yet to be addressed). The viewing angles aren't great, and it can be a little too dark at times. For the price it's acceptable ... just not great.
The only other thing that really stands out is the flimsiness. You could bend it with one hand. It does not feel sturdy at all. The screen flexes like crazy, even with just a small amount of pressure. Be prepared to treat it like royalty, or potential death may occur. :) Ok ... maybe not, I haven't broken it yet, and it has survived being shoved in my backpack every day for my bike ride to work. But it still worries me everyday. The worry is probably worse than any actual quality issues.
Other than that ... the only other things I ought to mention, is the fingerprint issue, which is a problem with most laptops. This thing will get greasy, especially where your wrists sit from typing. Also the touch pad is a little too sensitive at times, and I had to readjust the way I type on it to avoid hitting the pad and moving the cursor with the side of my thumb. I also broke the F12 key off while cleaning it with a microfibre, but I may have been a little too rough ... I can't fault the keyboard. I did however pick up a replacement board for it for $12 on ebay. I'm sure it's a fake from China but it feels the same and works fine.
I would only recommend it if it was much cheaper than anything else you are looking at. Before I left Canada I worked at a computer store and sold a lot of laptops. The Asus K52 series had a much better feel and quality was definitely better. I'm not up to date on their models these days but if they have bumped the specs of the video card then I would look in that direction.
As mentioned above by neojjjk if you can bump the budget and look at the MSI GX, definitely do so. If I could have afforded it at the time I would have gone that direction. One last thing to consider. Backlit keys!!! Something every laptop should have regardless of price. Consider it. I hate not having it.
Hope that helps. :)
Matte Screen (1920x1080) - i7-2630QM - nVidia 555M - 8Gb DDR3 - 120Gb Corsair Force GT SSD - 500Gb Momentus XT - Intel® 6300
My System Specs
Kingston 8GB DDR3
nVidia GT 555M
Corsair Force Series GT 120GB SSD
Win 7 64Bit
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